Dallas is truly a treasure trove of fun family activities. Having grown up in Dallas, I love being able to take my children to the places Lolli took me when I was their age…and there are so many new spots to explore now, too! Now that fall is in full swing, Dallas is bursting with fall activities for the whole family. Gather the family up for a fall “field trip” to one of these seasonal destinations:
Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum
Photo via The Dallas Arboretum
The Dallas Arboretum is always blooming, and the perfect place for families to visit! Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum offers unique seasonal attractions for the whole family. The yearly extravagant pumpkin village is on display until November 21, and this year’s theme is “Adventures in Neverland.” Wander through this critically-acclaimed pumpkin village into the Mermaid Lagoon, and board Captain Hook’s ship for an adventure across the ocean of gourds. And don’t miss their Halloween blow-out weekend October 27-28, with trick-or-treating throughout the garden, live music, face painting, a petting zoo and live appearances from Adventures in Neverland characters. “Mommy and Me Mondays” and “Tiny Tot Tuesdays,” are more fun family activities for the month of October that you won’t want to miss!
Halloweekend at the Dallas Zoo
Photo via The Dallas Zoo
The Dallas Zoo is a favorite year-round, especially at Halloween! This year’s “Halloweekend” at the zoo runs October 27-28 during normal zoo hours. Trick-or-treat around the zoo at themed treat stations, play in bounce houses, check out the spider-themed hay maze, and ride the carousel. It’s fun for kids to get to wear their Halloween costumes again for this event! The Dallas Zoo is recognized as one of the “Top Ten Zoos in the United States,” and has recently added several amazing exhibits including Giants of the Savannah, National Geographic Photo Tunnel, and Hippo Outpost.
The State Fair of Texas
Photo via the State Fair of Texas
The annual State Fair of Texas is a much-anticipated fall tradition for many Dallas families. This annual 24-day fair celebrates Texas with big attractions and, of course, Big Tex! While you’re there, check out the Texas Auto Show and the Discovery Gardens and wander through the unique historical and cultural exhibits. Make a stop at the midway for carnival rides and games, as well as the iconic Texas Star Ferris Wheel, the tallest ferris wheel in Texas! For classic Western fun, suit the kids up in their favorite boots for the PeeWee stampede and rodeo, where they can participate in mock rodeo events. And of course, don’t forget the legendary fried fair…Beyond corny dogs and funnel cakes, try a cotton candy taco, rated most creative in this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards!
Trick ‘r Treat Trains with The Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Photo via Grapevine Vintage Railroad
While there are many trick-or-treat activities around Dallas this year, this is one of the most unique opportunities we’ve found. On October 27 or 28, hop on the Trick ‘r Treat trains at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad for Halloween fun for kids of all ages. Dress the kids up in their costumes and enjoy trick-or-treating on the hour-long ride around town in this vintage, victorian-style train! Come back in December to ride the North Pole Express for a magical Christmas experience.
Photo via Southlake Oktoberfest
For a cultural autumn experience, look no further than Southlake’s Oktoberfest. The fest runs October 5-7 and offers a variety of German food, drinks, and entertainment. Grab a stein and a bratwurst and peruse the unique arts and crafts booths, or join the kids in the children’s area. If you visit on Saturday, drop by the costumed wiener dog race, and stick around for the the festival parade, immediately following!
Fall Fest at the Dallas Farmer’s Market
Photo via the Dallas Farmer’s Market
Visit the Dallas Farmer’s Market on October 6 from 10 am – 2 pm for a family-friendly fall festival that includes a petting zoo, pumpkin painting, balloon artists, face painting, and live entertainment. The event is free, but they ask that you bring an non-perishable food item to donate to North Texas Food Bank for admission. If you can’t make it this Saturday, the Dallas Farmer’s Market hosts a variety of vegetable and natural goods vendors every weekend. Take the kids along on a unique grocery shopping trip to teach them about fall vegetables, and then make dinner together with your purchases!
The Big Orange Pumpkin Farm at Preston Trail Farms
Photo via Preston Trail Farms
Just 30 minutes north of Dallas, The Big Orange Pumpkin Farm at Preston Trail Farms offers visitors a chance to experience pumpkins right on the vine. This family owned and operated pumpkin farm operates year-round, but the pumpkin patch is open to the public from now through November 21. The farm also offers hayrides, a 6-foot hay maze and a petting farm. Stop at the café for lunch or an afternoon snack, and don’t forget to make a stop in the gift shop before you leave!
Steinfest in Downtown Plano
Photo via Steinfest
Steinfest is an Oktoberfest-style event in downtown Plano, just north of Dallas. The fest includes “great food and the right kind of polka music” and promises to get you and your friends (or littles!) dancing! This year’s Steinfest takes place October 19 – 20 in Downtown Plano. Beyond just beer, there will be German-inspired cuisine, live music, booths for craftsman and makers, a wiener dog fashion show, a VIP bier garden, and “keg” bowling. Take your children by the kids zone for pumpkin painting, bounce houses, and a petting zoo!
Brick or Treat at the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
Photo via the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
This Halloween season, drop by Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center for special activities and themed lego-brick creations! Along with the rides and building activities already included in your ticket, enjoy Halloween-themed building projects in the Creative Workshop, and top off the visit with a scavenger hunt through “haunted” MINILAND! Don’t forget to have the kids don their costumes and pose for a photo with large LEGO models!
Spooktacular Sleepover at the Perot Museum
Photo via The Perot Museum of Nature and Science
If your littles can’t get enough of the slightly-spooky this season, the Spooktacular Sleepover at the Perot Museum is the perfect place to spend Halloween weekend. The sleepover begins October 26 at 6:30 pm and ends 8:00 am the following morning. At this special Halloween sleepover, celebrate the “spooky side of science” by creating ghostly screams, get up close to critters, using an explosion to carve a pumpkin, and more. Wear your costume to participate in the costume contest!